Power Pole Maintenance in California Aqueduct Reach 2B, Reach 3, Reach 5, and Reach 6
PG&E needs to maintain seven existing utility poles located in the Department of Water Resources Aqueduct right of way. Three poles are at sites in Merced County (two are in Aqueduct Reach 2B and one is in Aqueduct Reach 3). The other four poles are at sites in Fresno County (one is in Aqueduct Reach 5, and three are in Aqueduct Reach 6). Maintenance of the poles includes testing for structural integrity and treating against future decay. The following work will occur at each pole:
A 12-inch radius area will be excavated around the base of the pole and will be dug by hand. Once the area is excavated, the structural integrity of the pole will be tested by using a battery-powered drill to make three holes in the base of the pole. If the integrity of the wood from any of these drilled holes is questionable, then up to fifteen holes will be made along the length of the pole to determine the amount of damage. Any poles not considered to be structurally sound will be reported to PG&E for further assessment. If the pole is considered structurally sound, it will be treated with a chemical product that protects against wood decay and insect attack. To prevent potential chemical spills and leaks, the product will be applied into the holes with a squirt tip applicator. After the holes have been filled with the chemical product, a wood preservative paste will be brushed onto the pole from a point about 3 inches above the ground surface and down to about 20 inches below the ground surface. A paper-based backing will be applied over the preservative to aid in absorption of the paste into the pole and to prevent the paste from leaching into the soil. This backing will extend from a point about 4 inches above the ground surface to about 20 inches below the ground surface. Once the pole has been treated, the holes will be sealed using plastic plugs and the excavated area will be backfilled and compacted.